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'Guns have no place on campus,' Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools leaders address weapons in schools, new safety measures

"We will be taking this very seriously and guns have no place on campus," Superintendent Tricia McManus said.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district leaders are addressing violence and safety prevention measures in schools after four guns were recently found on campuses in the last few weeks. 

"We will be taking this very seriously and guns have no place on campus," Superintendent Tricia McManus said.

District leaders spoke Thursday after the recent findings of weapons on WS/FCS campuses. It also comes after the Sept. 1 deadly Mount Tabor High School shooting, numerous threats, and false reports spreading throughout different school districts. 

"They've already been through this once, they don't need to go through it again," Alicia Salazar said.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district said an SRO found a gun Thursday in a student's backpack at Mount Tabor High School. Another gun was found Sept. 8 at Parkland High School and another on Sept. 21 at Reynolds High School. 

School leaders are talking about immediate and long-term district responses. That includes having assessment teams going into schools that have higher rates of violence and fights. The assessment team will then determine what supervision plans need to change or if they need more support. 

The district also said both Mount Tabor and Parkland schools will receive more support staff including additional counselors.

“Lately you’ve been hearing a lot about Mt. Tabor. You’ve been hearing a lot about Parkland. They will receive additional student services staff. We are in the hiring process as we speak,” McManus said.

The district is also considering implementing a clear bag policy at schools. Recently, the district implemented the new policy for all school events.

“We're looking at what else we should do. We’ve already started clear bags and wanding at athletic events, at football, at basketball and soccer. We are talking about whether or not we need to do that in schools,” McManus said.

Some parents and teachers disagree with those kinds of steps.

"I'm wary of turning the school into a prison kind of thing where if you see metal detectors coming in and you have overwhelming things like that then it's on their minds as soon as they come into school," Jamie Grimstead, a Mount Tabor High teacher said.

School leaders are also talking with a security consultant they said has worked with schools around the country.

Mount Tabor mom Micha James believes these problems have been building for years in the community.

"This didn't happen overnight and it's not going to be corrected overnight but it can be corrected," James said.

McManus spoke about the penalties for students found in possession of a weapon. It includes a 365-day suspension for any student who brings a gun on campus. The student will no longer be able to attend their school and will receive education in an alternate setting. 

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